Technology will be fundamental for COVID-19 vaccine delivery

The use of technology for logistics in the distribution chain of the vaccine against COVID-19 will be fundamental once it begins to be delivered to countries around the world.

During a conversation held by SAP, specialists from that company made a diagnosis of the main challenges that Latin America will face in order to successfully deliver the vaccine from the manufacturing plants to the citizens.

Technology will be able to help in this mission in order to identify deviations in plans, detect early signs of bottlenecks, obtain recommendations for problem solving, enable vaccine storage and flexible distribution to overcome shortages and meet emergency demands. This will allow predicting hot spots (cities that need it first) or making predictions to assess timing and effectiveness of vaccination processes.

The technological tools available on the market today have the ability to offer, among other things, the following advantages:

Provide tools and applications for governments to more effectively track known and, anonymously, unknown contacts to interrupt the chain of COVID-19 infections.
Protect the population against counterfeit vaccines, provide manufacturers with the ability to comply with serialization regulations in multiple jurisdictions, and support vaccine production tracking.
Manage inventory, model supply chain network constraints, and assess risks and intervene when necessary.
More easily pivot and scale efforts as new vaccines emerge and government requirements and guidelines change.
Have full transparency into the transportation, storage and dispensing of vaccines to help ensure their safety and effectiveness.
Understand resident sentiment around vaccine and actions they can take to help people feel more confident and secure about vaccine distribution, administration and protection.
Provide the tools for companies and governments to complete workforce planning and quickly add full-time and contingent staff to meet mission-critical and urgent demands.
Enable medical staff to be better informed and enable timely and efficient decision making.
Improve hospital wait times, hospital throughput and access to quality care for vulnerable populations.
Once approved in the region, one of the biggest challenges will be to connect vaccine manufacturers, governments, regulatory agencies, service providers and drug dispensing entities to work in a unified manner for distribution.

Aura Ordóñez, Health Specialist for the Northern Region of Latin America and the Caribbean for SAP, pointed out that technology solutions will enable better traceability in the distribution of vaccines and the correct functioning of the supply chain.

“This situation presents us with the great challenge of getting the vaccine everywhere in the shortest possible time. The goal, then, will be to connect vaccine manufacturers, governments, regulatory agencies, service providers and drug dispensing entities to work in a unified manner in its distribution. “COVID-19 has put a lot of pressure on the pharmaceutical industry and different governments. Today the opportunity to successfully coordinate and implement mass vaccination programs depends on the vaccine supply chain strategy” said Aura Ordoñez,

Diana Angulo, SAP Supply Chain Specialist, highlighted that among the biggest challenges will be the “capacities that each country has to store the product with the required parameters” such as the right temperature.

“The infrastructure that each country has has certain distributors with logistics operators, but the cold storage capacity is 10 percent of the total products they have. As we cannot stop supplying these other products that continue to rotate, we have to start to see first what infrastructure I am going to need, how much I am going to invest in the short term in this additional infrastructure for a determined time in which I am going to mitigate this disease,” Angulo said.

Source: ANPanamá

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